Gamāl al-Ghītānī’s Pyramid Texts and the Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges: A Comparative Study

in Journal of Arabic Literature
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Abstract

The Egyptian author Gamāl al-Ghītānī (b. 1945) published Pyramid Texts in 1994; nevertheless, the present scholarship on al-Ghītānī overlooks Pyramid Texts. In the absence of studies on Pyramid Texts, this article approaches the text from two vantage points. First it asserts that it is a metafictional text. The assertion is based on its attributes as a parataxical, non-representational, and self-referential text that belongs to the “anti-novel” and deals with metafictional themes. Secondly, it contends that formal attributes of Pyramid Texts derive from the fiction of the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). The justification for such a contention emanates from their mutual use of geometric forms in the form of pyramids and labyrinths as metaphors. In this respect, the labyrinthine setting in Borges’ fiction gives the text its form, and functions simultaneously as a metaphor for the narrative’s ontological and metafictional concerns. Al-Ghītānī substituted the pyramid for the labyrinth; in the fiction of Borges his images remain horizontal, whereas al-Ghītānī gave Pyramid Texts the vertical form of a pyramid. The intertextuality between Pyramid Texts and the work of Borges centers on the use of geometric images of infinity in the form of pyramids and labyrinths as metaphors for fictional concerns.

Gamāl al-Ghītānī’s Pyramid Texts and the Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges: A Comparative Study

in Journal of Arabic Literature

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